BOOKS: The Book that Shook Keith James

The choice for a bookworm is not easy. If I had to pick a novel it would be The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa - a wonderful account of a Sicilian aristocratic family in the 1860s facing political, economic and cultural change.

by Keith James, chairman of law firm Eversheds

The books of Charles Handy have influenced me greatly - his observations are very relevant. But at the end, I come back to a little-known book full of physical and moral courage - Iris Origo's diary War in Val d'Orcia (1943-44). She was an Anglo-American, married to an Italian landowner, who found herself having to raise a young family during a time of civil war and foreign invasion in the no-man's-land of the remote Tuscan countryside. Her country of adoption was at war with her country of origin, but she was preoccupied with the immediate problems of holding her household together and trying to keep a rural community from annihilation.

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